«From the mouth of the righteous comes the fruit of wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be silenced» (Proverbs 10:31).
Jesus was crucified along with two thieves. In the midst of the agitation of the crowd, the Lord clearly heard the grievances and bitter murmurings of one of them. All of a sudden, the criminal locked his gaze on Jesus and began to hurl all sorts of insults at Him. Then he said: «If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us» (Luke 23:39).
At the end of his life, this criminal has a huge opportunity: to be alongside Jesus. But he begins to insult Him and then to give Him orders: «Save yourself! Why are you waiting to help us! Don’t you realize we need you?»
In some way, he thinks he deserves salvation and demands it. Yes, although it seems strange, there are people who come to God in order to throw all kinds of accusations, claims, and nonconformity His way, with their respective burdens of bitterness, blaming Him for their current situation: «If you are so powerful, why do you allow this to happen to me? Why don’t you do something to stop bad things happening to me?»
The other thief listens with astonishment to the expletives and demands that his companion throws at Jesus.
«Not even being condemned to death do you fear God? We, to be truthful, justly suffer, because we are receiving what our actions deserve; but this man has done no wrong.»
This man confesses to being a criminal who has been righteously condemned. However, unlike the other thief, he believes that Jesus does not deserve the punishment He is suffering. He has probably heard some of Jesus’s messages before; he also seems to be aware that Jesus will return in the clouds of heaven in glory and majesty. Ifthat were not enough, he also accepts that Jesus is the Savior who will soon establish His kingdom in this world. So he then says to Jesus: «Remember me when You come into Your kingdom.»
In spite of being nailed to the cross, Jesus was faithful in the fulfillment of the mission for which He had come to this world: to offer salvation. So, after listening to the dialogue among the criminals, He turned His face slightly toward the second thief to answer his request: «I assure you, you will be with Me in Paradise.»
Which side of the cross are you on? How do you approach Jesus? Do you often complain to God about His supposed injustices toward you, demanding that He free you from your problems?
Or do you recognize that the bad decisions of your life are your responsibility? The hope of salvation is still there. Where are you going to place yourself? The decision is yours.
You, too, can hear the blessed promise today: «You will be with Me in Paradise.»